Smiles

By Ellen P. Allerton

Some monstrous moralist lays down this rule
Among the maxims: “Always wear a smile.
He must have learned it in some Jesuit school,
Where deepest wisdom is but deepest guile.
Who would obey must set himself the task—
A hateful one—to always wear a mask.

Your constant smiler is a hypocrite,
‘Tis evil that must hide, not honesty.
He whose expression always wears a bit,
A very prince in wickedness may be.
“A man may smile and be a villain still;”
And he who always smiles, be sure he will.

A smile is lovely when, through lip and eye,
The sunny sweetness of a soul shines out,
Like a quick glimpse of glory; ’tis a lie
When inner darkness it but wraps about.
Night rules us all at times; shall we, the while,
Hide our sad midnight with a morning smile?

Our faces are our windows. Is it meet
That one should always keep his curtains down?
When smiles are but the draping of deceit,
Better, far better, were an honest frown.
By semblance falsely sweet sin hides its art—
Only from men—God looketh on the heart.